Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio on Friday, sparing the controversial former Arizona sheriff a jail sentence after he was convicted of criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.
The move drew outcry from civil rights groups, which accuse Arpaio of violating the Constitution in his crackdown on illegal immigration.
During last year's presidential campaign, Arpaio was a vocal proponent of Trump's candidacy, and used his national notoriety to advocate for Trump's similarly aggressive stance on border security and deportations.
In a brief statement released late Friday evening, the White House praised Arpaio's career.
"Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration," the statement read. "Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."
Arpaio thanked Trump on Twitter.
"Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!," he posted.
Arpaio continued: "I am humbled and incredibly grateful to President Trump. I look fwd to putting this chapter behind me and helping to #MAGA"
He said in a Fox News interview Friday that he would hold a news conference early next week to discuss the pardon.